Your time is precious, and managing multiple jobs can stretch you thin. Find out how you can better oversee several job sites.

With 25 years managing workers on drilling and workover rigs, Tom Goosman, 70, appreciates technological developments that make it easier for him to oversee several job sites. 

Before cellphones he stood in a line with other managers waiting for his turn at the pay phone to report progress from the previous day and plans for the upcoming day. Now his office is in his truck: a cellphone, laptop, voice recorder and notebook and pen. 

Goosman currently manages four workover rig crews within about 100 miles of each other in the Bakken for Team Services, based in Kalkaska, Mich. With years of experience in the oil industry, he shared a few tips about staying organized to manage multiple sites. 

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  • Remember the “bible.” The bible is the company’s Standard Operating Procedures book. When situations come up, the SOP bible offers commonsense procedures to deal with them. Combined with quick communication via phone or email, Goosman can contact engineers for issues not covered to solve problems quickly.
  • Develop an efficient prog. Team Services modifies the prognosis (breakdown of work, things to do) created by engineers to develop an efficient timeline in the field. “I try to operate from that a lot, to estimate and take steps along the way so we can adjust management decisions,” Goosman says. With one prog for each site, he keeps on top of each project from setup, to arranging for third-party services to the completion of the job.
  • Plan long term. “Long-term planning is buying green bananas,” Goosman laughs. When it comes to oilfield work, the best planning gets sidetracked with breakdowns and other problems. Often challenges come up at the same time at multiple sites. “The biggest thing is to analyze and prioritize what needs to be done and delegate as much as possible,” he says. “Be a helping guide.”
  • Good employees. “My job is easy because I surround myself with good people,” Goosman says, adding that if a company is good to employees, it’s easier to attract good employees. Being located in a new territory for the company, Goosman has taken on the HR work of hiring, and learned that his good workers like to surround themselves with good workers, too, and that they often provide good references. When everyone works as a team and understands the chain of command, incidences that come up can be dealt with quickly.
  • Demand truthfulness. “I’ve never fired anybody for telling me the truth,” Goosman says. He tells new hires to go to work and do their job and that he wants truthfulness and no drama. While drama is difficult to eliminate altogether, he works hard to develop good communication with supervisors under him as well as his manager. Although younger managers prefer to communicate through texts and emails, he spends much of his day on the phone. “One of the things when we went electronic is that you lose the voice on the other end, and you can understand a lot by the sound of their voice,” he says.
  • Hands-on management. Goosman prefers not to think of himself as a micromanager, but he admits his management style is hands-on. The 123,000 miles on his pickup in 24 months is evidence of that. Though he isn’t a mechanic, he likes to be on hand for moral support when a rig’s transmission needs to be changed, for example. Being on site, also helps develop relationships and better communications. “I tell workers they can call me anytime, day or night with issues. It keeps me in the loop if there are problems,” Goosman says. 

And, with his pickup stocked with survival gear, H2S detectors and an H2S escape pack, extra clothing, food and water, he’s ready at a moment’s notice to drive to any site to provide direction and support.

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